FIRST RIDE: 2023.5 CAN-AM OUTLANDER XT 700

Bigger, more capable and new from the ground up By the staff of Dirt Wheels

The Outlander 700 XT ($9799) is 2 inches wider than the outgoing Can-Am Outlander 570, which also allowed the engineers to increase front- and rear-wheel travel significantly for a plusher ride.

To be clear, Can-Am’s new Outlander 700 is replacing the Outlander 570, and the new Outlander 500 replaces the Outlander 450. Like many of you, we were also confused when news broke from Can-Am about the new mid-size Outlanders. Why would Can-Am replace the 570 V-twin with a single-cylinder engine? And, how do you get a 500- and 700-class machine using the same new 650cc-displacement single cylinder? 

Can-Am tells us the differences are centered around the camshaft and the engine control unit (ECU). The Outlander 700 ($9799) receives a high-performance cam and ECU programming for maximum power, which equates to 50 horsepower and 41 pound-feet of torque. The Outlander 500 makes 40 horsepower and 37 pound-feet of torque. Still confused? We were, too, but Can-Am says it basically comes down to getting more engine and class-leading performance at the lowest price in the class, which they essentially did. It’s hard to argue more for less! Base model versus base model, the Outlander 700 makes more power and costs less than the competition’s mid-level offerings, and even edges out the 518cc Honda Foreman and 493cc Suzuki KingQuad 500 by $100 or more. Only CFMoto’s 45-horse CForce 600 beats the Outlander 700 on price.

There’s far more to the new Outlander than just power and value, however. These machines are 100 percent new from the ground up, so there’s a lot more to go over. Let’s dig in!

The seat is narrow at the front and wide at the rear. It flows well for easy movement up, back and side to side, and has a sporty feel that is great for all-day trail riding.

BACKWARDS ENGINE?

The Rotax 650cc ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) engine is like nothing we’ve ever seen in a Can-Am ATV before. The top end leans towards the rear with the EFI throttle body entering from the front. The engine air intake is located up high ahead of the handlebars where it takes in cooler air than it would from a traditional airbox setup located behind or on top of a hot engine. Anyone who builds engines will tell you that cooler air makes more power. A shorter exhaust system exits directly out the back of the ATV. This design, along with a tin heat shield, keeps heat away from the legs and seat and saves weight.

With a push of the e-start button, the engine emits a quieter but still familiar Rotax rumble. With the gear selector in high range, throttle response is light and predictable when we needed it to be. Mash the throttle, and the Outlander accelerates quickly, but without the overzealous excitement of a big bore. Power delivery is linear and friendly enough for a novice rider to adapt to quickly, but will keep advanced skill sets happy at the same time. You can even get some lift out of the front wheels under hard acceleration to overtake obstacles. 

Can-Am tells us the Outlander 700 peaks at 50 horsepower, while the old Outlander 570 was good for 48 horsepower, but it’s the more usable range from idle to three-quarter throttle that’s more impressive with gains as high as 5 horsepower. Likewise, torque is also increased by 4 to 7 pound-feet in the usable range.


pDRIVE TRANSMISSION

The automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) is massive and built for much heavier side-by-side use, so it should be reliable. Much of the tech came from use in the Maverick X3 Turbo RR side-by-side, like the pDrive pulley, which uses rollers instead of ramps for quicker acceleration and less wear. 

The CVT air intake is also located up high and ahead of the handlebars, forcing cooler air into the belt-drive housing to extend belt life. The CVT also includes separate exhaust ductwork that runs up below the seat and out the rear, keeping heat away from the rider. If your plans are to submerge your ATV past the seat, you might want to look at the mud-specific Outlander X MR 700 with snorkeled ductwork.

Shifting is gated, but it isn’t notchy or difficult like past Can-Am ATVs. With the engine on or off, you can slide the shifter from park to low without hangup. The shifter is also positioned in a way that it’s easy to access on hills and with the bars turned to full lock, which is very useful when the trail ahead requires frequent shifting between high and low range.

We have many favorite takeaways from our two-day ride, but cornering ability stands out as a favorite feature. It goes where you point it with hardly a hint of under- or oversteer.

FINAL DRIVE

During our two days of riding with Can-Am, there wasn’t any part of the test track that the Outlander couldn’t handle in 2WD. That said, it does have selectable 4WD, which can be toggled on the fly without releasing the hand grip.

We are disappointed to see that the Outlander XT 700 isn’t equipped with Can-Am’s Visco 4-Lok fully lockable front differential. You can only get it on the more utility-focused and stiffer-sprung Outlander Pro HD5, HD7 and Outlander X MR 700 mud machine. However, the XT package does get upgraded from the base model with the quicker-engaging automatic Visco-Lok QE differential.

ALL-NEW CHASSIS

The new high-strength tensile steel frame still has some flex to it, and that’s a good thing! We spent hours on the test track at varying rpm without any hint of vibration or numbness to the fingers. Standard bumpers include tabs for mounting accessory lights, and the frame has integrated mounting points for installation of Can-Am’s snow track systems and plows, reducing setup time and effort by 50 percent. 

Standard skid-plate protection includes full-length frame coverage with 7/32-inch high-impact-resistant polyethylene. If your trail preference includes rock crawling and log leaping, Can-Am offers optional hybrid aluminum and polyethylene 3/8-inch protection that includes wrap-around coverage of front and rear A-arms and footwells. 

A BETTER RIDE!

Suspension is overwhelmingly our favorite feature, which was surprising since they replaced the rear torsional trailing arms with A-arms. The suspension works well everywhere and at any speed. It literally floats over washboard, but without any awkward feeling of disconnect with the trail. Tracking is also precise. We never detected any sideways deflection off of bumps or rocks. Nothing about the ride provokes hesitation. It begs you to push it harder and always with satisfying results.

The numbers are big all around. Can-Am upped ground clearance significantly to 12 inches, and wheel-track width has been increased to just under 48 inches (2 inches wider than the Outlander 570). This made for more suspension travel up front at 9.75 inches (+1.25 inches) and 10.25 inches at the rear (+1.75 in.).

Arched front A-arms and rear A-arms are attached to the frame with a forward-facing attack angle that’s designed to soften blows from deep ruts and rocks, and it works great. Turning is also enhanced, whether rounding a sweeping corner at speed or navigating a tight hairpin. There’s no hint of annoying understeer unless you blatantly force it, but it’s easily corrected by backing off the throttle slightly. The XT package does include Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS), but so did the old Outlander 570. The difference here is in the improved chassis balance and suspension improvements. It all adds up to a more planted, stable and confident feel at the controls. 

The instrument cluster is removable with two quarter-turn fasteners to expose the air-filter box and cool-air engine intake and CVT intake.
Storage of all personal items can be had in this large and conveniently located glove box. The XT package includes a cell-phone holder with a USB charging port.
The front sealed storage compartment lid can be removed to work with a variety of Can-Am’s LinQ accessories, like this 3.7-gallon fuel caddy, which is protected by the front rack.

HAULING, TOWING AND HALTING

Despite the middleweight designation, Can-Am claims the Outlander 700 can handle heavyweight-level cargo. The front rack is rated for 120 pounds, and the rear is good for up to 240 pounds. This not only makes it the best in class for cargo hauling, it also matches or beats every big-bore competitor machine with the exception of the 55-inch-wide Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 S. It even knocks out the Outlander XT-P 1000R by 60 pounds.

The same can be said about the Outlander 700’s 1830-pound towing capacity. It not only outperforms the outgoing Outlander 570 by 530 pounds, but it also bests the Outlander XT 1000R by 180 pounds, which makes us wonder if the larger Outlander models are also going to receive a complete redesign soon.

With all fluids and a full tank of fuel, the Outlander XT 700 comes in just below 900 pounds. Stopping it is handled by dual front and single rear disc brakes like before, but new metallic brake pads handle the heat better. During our two days of testing, brake fade was never an issue. Measured braking to all four wheels is controlled with the front lever, while a foot lever activates the rear brakes. We found ourselves using the single hand lever most of the time, but would prefer a dual-handbrake setup for tackling more technical terrain. 

The XT package includes 26-inch XPS Trail Force tires on 14-inch aluminum wheels, a 3500-pound winch, front and rear bumpers, and a premium glove box internal USB charger.

COMFORTABLY COOL

Can-Am claims the new narrower engine design reduces space between the knees for added comfort, but we didn’t notice any remarkable difference while straddling the seat. The thick seat is narrow at the front and wide at the rear, much like a sport quad. It’s flat and flows well for easy forward, back and side-to-side body movement. A glove box positioned between the knees is large enough to accommodate all personal belongings. With the engine and CVT exhaust exiting straight out of the rear, we never felt any heat radiating from the engine.

Footwells are longer and deeper than those on the Outlander 570. Plastic footpegs are replaceable with two bolts for when they eventually wear out, or you can just purchase Can-Am’s steel pegs ($55.99) that come on the X MR trim and never worry about your boots slipping again.

The Rotax 650cc ACE engine cylinder leans towards the rear with the EFI throttle body entering from the front and the exhaust system exiting directly out the back.

XT PACKAGE FEATURES

Upgrading from the base-model Outlander 700 to the Outlander XT 700 will tack on an extra $2000 to the price tag, but it’s money well spent. The extra coin will get you Tri-Mode DPS (manual steering on base), Visco-Lok with Quick Engagement (QE) front differential, 26-inch XPS Trail Force tires on 14-inch aluminum wheels, a winch with 3500-pound capacity, front and rear bumpers, and a premium glove box with a cell phone holder and internal USB charger.

The automatic CVT is built for much heavier side-by-side use, so it should be very reliable. Much of the pDrive tech came from use in the Maverick X3 Turbo RR side-by-side.

SIMPLIFIED MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE

Engine side panels are easy to remove without tools and expose easy access to the engine and transmission. The skid plate has cutaway access holes at the drain points designed in a way that won’t create a mess. The air filter is exposed by removing the instrument cluster in front of the handlebars—tools not required here, either. This is also where the air intake for the CVT is located. Speaking of CVT, the cover can be removed in just minutes. If that doesn’t simplify things enough, the maintenance schedule for the Outlander 700 begins at one year, or 2000 miles, with 2000-mile maintenance intervals thereafter. 

Wheel tracking is always straight and precise. We never detected any side-to-side deflection off bumps or rocks. Point the wheels where you want to go, and the Outlander takes you there.

A BETTER OUTLANDER

The Outlander XT 700 is a new ATV no matter how you look at it. It makes more usable power but is also easier to ride. We can’t say enough good things about how this ATV handles rough terrain and corners. When it comes to chores, this super-duty middleweight has the carrying capacity to hang with the big bores. The price difference between the outgoing Can-Am Outlander XT 570 and the new Can-Am XT 700 is $470. While some other manufacturers recently charged that much for new colors and graphics, Can-Am produced an entirely new ATV. They did their homework, so say what you will about the loss of the 570 V-twin, because this machine is better!

SPECS: CAN-AM OUTLANDER XT 700

Engine Rotax ACE 650cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled

Fuel delivery system EFI

Transmission pDrive primary CVT L/H/N/R/P

Drivetrain Selectable 2WD/4WD with Visco-Lok QE auto-locking front differential

Power steering Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS)

Suspension/travel:

Front Double A-arm; 9.75”

Rear Double A-arm; 10.25”

Shocks:

Front Twin tube

Rear Twin tube

Tires:

Front XPS Trail Force 26×8-14”

Rear XPS Trail Force 26×10-14” Wheels 14” aluminum

Brakes:

Front Dual 214mm disc brakes with hydraulic twin-piston calipers

Rear Single 214 mm disc brake with hydraulic twin-piston caliper

Estimated dry weight 858 lb.

Length/width/height 89.9”/48.8”/48.2” 

Wheelbase 53”

Ground clearance 12” 

Seat height 38.6”

Rack capacity 120 lb. front/240 lb. rear 

Storage capacity 9 gal.

Towing capacity 1,830 lb.

Fuel capacity 5.1 gal.

Gauge 4.5” digital display

Lighting LED headlights

Winch 3,500 lb. winch

Price $9799
Contact www.can-am.brp.com

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